FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Sullivan County woman is charged with TennCare fraud in connection with using the state’s healthcare insurance program to obtain prescription drugs, which she later sold.
The Kingsport Police Department with the Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Debra Carroll, 43, of Kingsport. A Sullivan County indictment charges her with three counts of TennCare fraud, as well as three counts each of sale and delivery of a Schedule III controlled substance.
Authorities say Carroll used TennCare benefits on three separate occasions to obtain a prescription for Suboxone, a painkiller used to wean people from addiction to morphine and other opiates, later selling a portion of the drugs for financial gain.
“Those who abuse TennCare will get the message that we are aggressively pursuing TennCare fraud and making arrests statewide,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We have connected with law enforcement agencies and are working cases across the state.”
District Attorney General Barry P. Stabus will prosecute. TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge, and sale and/or delivery of a Schedule III controlled substance is a Class D felony, punishable by two to four years in prison per charge.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $3.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $173 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 1,700 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.
Through the OIG Cash for Tips Program established by the Legislature, Tennesseans can get cash rewards for TennCare fraud tips that lead to convictions. Anyone can report suspected TennCare fraud by calling 1-800-433-3982 toll-free from anywhere in Tennessee, or log on to www.tn.gov/tnoig and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."